The Q&A Archives: prickly pear rot??

Question: hi, I have an opuntia that was given to me about a week ago and it was driven back to our home; western washington in a box. When I took it out it seemed to be wrinkly all over. Our trip home was only four hours and the cactus recieved no light or water. I can't tell if it has rot or a disease. So far I have it potted in our living room with light and a little water. should this treatment nurse it back to health?

Answer: I wouldn't do anything other than leave the cactus in a brightly lit room. If you packed it in a box for the trip home, the temperature may have been too warm inside the vehicle, or too cold in the trunk to suit the plant. Or, a heat vent could have concentrated hot air on the plant. In any event, it should recover. Don't water for 3-4 weeks. This will force new root growth (as the plant seeks moisture) which should strengthen the root system. Your cactus won't require a great deal of water during the winter months but should be watered sparingly every 15-20 days during the spring and summer months.

Best wishes with your prickly pear.

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